When you prioritize your health by making a few lifestyle changes every day, you increase your chances of remaining clean and sober for the long-term in recovery. Every single thing you can do to help yourself to feel better, more confident, happy, and healthy will improve your ability to manage stress and defy the urge to relapse.

Though more expensive rehabilitation centers may boast higher rates of success in recovery, the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that an estimated 40 to 60 percent of patients will relapse after detox and addiction treatment. You can bolster your odds of beating that statistic by arming yourself with a host of positive lifestyle choices that promote improved mental, physical and emotional health.


What you eat can impact everything in your life: your ability to get good sleep, your physical health, your mental health, and even your stress levels. In recovery, you also have a lot of damage to repair from long-term drug and alcohol use and a lack of attention to nutrition.

Many end up gaining weight in recovery because their metabolism changes without drug use and they attempt to use food as a replacement for their drug of choice – but this doesn’t have to be your experience.

Meal Planning Tips

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you plan your meals in recovery:

  • Speak with a nutrition counselor. Often in rehab you can access a nutrition counselor who can help you address what you need to eat – and what food you should avoid – every day and assist you in creating a plan to help you reach those goals. Whether your goal is weight loss, weight maintenance, weight gain, or muscle building, a nutrition counselor can help you do it healthfully.
  • Drink lots of fluids. Staying hydrated can help you keep your energy up and improve functioning throughout the body.
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. You can’t go wrong eating a wide range of vegetables and fruits. Make them your primary snack and fill at least half your plate with them at every meal.
  • Limit sweets, saturated fats, and processed foods. Making sure the calories you intake are working for you means limiting the number of calories provided by saturated fats and sugar. There is quite a bit of sugar and sodium in processed foods – even ones marketed as healthy – so skip those and opt instead for fresh, whole foods.


Even if you are not in great shape or suffer from chronic pain, gentle exercise every day will improve your circulation, heart function, bone strength, and mood. A short walk once or twice a day outside is all it takes to get started. After that, add in some weight-bearing exercises every other day – just a few moves with a pair of dumbbells will suffice.

Remember to take it slow if you have injuries or pain and never push yourself too hard. Get a doctor’s approval before beginning any exercise program. And if you feel great and are ready to go, don’t overdo it. Moderation and persistence are the key to optimum health.


In addition to good nutrition and exercise, you can make a number of small changes that will help improve wellness too. These include:

  • Go to sleep at the same time every night and get up at the same time every day to maintain a regular sleep schedule.
  • Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Stop using any nicotine products.
  • Meditate regularly.
  • Utilize holistic treatment options like acupressure, acupuncture, and herbal supplements under the tutelage of a knowledgeable and experienced holistic provider.

Start Strong in Recovery

The best way to get a healthy start in recovery is to build a solid foundation for health and wellness at a well-resourced drug rehab program. Contact us today at Black Bear Lodge at 706-914-2327 to learn more about how we can help you begin your new life without drugs and alcohol.

Articles posted here are primarily educational and may not directly reflect the offerings at Black Bear Lodge. For more specific information on programs at Black Bear Lodge, contact us today.